Personalities

Find out what Asia’s movers and shakers are up to ­– and how they spend their private time 
  1. While the coronavirus outbreak has left many people self-quarantining in flats of just a few hundred square feet, super-rich Asians have a more appealing option for refuge: their own private island. Sales agents say they have been flooded with enquiries from Asia’s wealthiest seeking an investment that can serve as both a bolt-hole from the raging pandemic and a long-term investment. What is more, while some of these private idylls sell for up to US$100 million, some go for as little as US$55…
  2. Shogo Suzuki is today an impeccably dressed and well-mannered young man of 24 – but not long ago, he was a self-declared troublemaker. He was skipping school at the tender age of 14, joined an underworld group in Tokyo not long after, and then worked as an illegal street tout trying to inveigle young girls into the sex industry. He was also partying hard along the way and regularly getting into fights. Inevitably, he was arrested and found himself serving a two-year term in a prison for…
  3. Academics across Asia have paid tribute to Dr Aileen Baviera, expressing their grief after the well-known Filipino expert on China-Southeast Asia relations died on March 21 from severe pneumonia caused by Covid-19.Baviera, 60, reportedly contracted the novel coronavirus while attending the First Indo-Pacific Conference at the Ecole Militaire in Paris from March 4 to 11. She arrived in Manila on March 12 and immediately checked herself into Manila’s San Lazaro Hospital, where she remained until…
  4. As Americans react to the spread of coronavirus, it’s not just toilet paper and groceries being snapped up by panicked customers. It’s guns too. Stores across the US have in the past month recorded a surge in firearm and ammunition sales. Ammunition retailer ammo.com reported a 276 per cent sales surge on March 10, as numbers of confirmed cases climbed in the US, while local media have reported long lines of people queueing outside gun stores. In California and Washington, the states with the…
  5. A feng shui master from Singapore has denied doing anything wrong and refused to apologise after being barred from Cambodia following accusations that he discredited the country’s ancestral heritage and monarchy.In an interview with This Week in Asia, Cheah Fah Loong, who is better known as Master Yun, insisted that everything he had done “was correct” and he would “never apologise”.“Can you imagine, if I say I’m sorry that means I have done something wrong. Everything that I have done was…
  6. Suicides in Japan fell for a tenth consecutive year in 2019 – reaching a record low – though this was not the case among young people, with experts saying more needs to be done to help. A total of 20,169 people took their own lives in the country in 2019, according to statistics released by the National Police Agency on Tuesday, a decrease of 617 on the previous year and the lowest figure since the police began compiling nationwide figures annually in 1978. Despite the decline in overall…
  7. After breaking up with her husband, Saifon was looking for a fresh start. She ended up paying with her life. The 21-year-old farmer in Nakhon Si Thammarat, southern Thailand, had started seeing another man after her marriage broke down about six months before. When her jealous ex-husband found out, he stabbed her to death in a brutal attack that also left her new partner seriously injured. It will never be known for sure why Saifon left her husband, but as local media pointed out at the time…
  8. The most valuable possession that Hasib, 40, owns with his wife Khomsiah, 38, is their shop in a trash-strewn riverside slum near the centre of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.The shop, hidden between a five-star hotel and a Marine Corps barracks, sells everything from instant coffee and tea packets, instant noodles, cold drinks and cigarettes, to cheap toys and bags of rice.But it is the little things that the couple neither owns nor sells which could gravely affect them and their three…
  9. Embattled former Malaysian premier Najib Razak’s wife Rosmah Mansor was, by his own admission, “a hoarder”, he reveals in a new Netflix documentary on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) global corruption scandal.“I mean – like most women – my wife does like to shop, but you tend to accumulate things over a period of time,” he tells interviewers in an episode of Dirty Money, a Netflix original series which investigates corporate corruption, securities fraud and creative accounting.“I…
  10. In January, three-time Korean Basketball League (KBL) champion Ra Guna went public about the discrimination he receives “on a daily basis” from fans. The naturalised South Korean citizen said whenever he had lacklustre games, fans would post racist and hateful comments online, telling him and his family “to go back home” or his daughter to die. Ra Guna – whose birth name is Ricardo Ratliffe – went to South Korea in 2012 after a successful collegiate career at the University of Missouri,…